Carnival time!

The UK summer may be coming to end, but the Notting Hill Carnival brought one last glorious day of sun-drenched partying.  Westbourne Grove’s bijou designer shops were boarded up for the bank holiday weekend as hundreds of thousands of people joined in the second biggest street festival in the world.

Carnival swan

Notting Hill Carnival was formed in 1959 by the Trinidad and Tobago Caribbean community and has seen up to two million visitors since.

Sunday is known as the ‘family day’, but on the Bank Holiday Monday, the streets of Notting Hill are filled with the best soundsystems, barbeques and of course the procession.  The food is usually pretty good and generously sized, with most of the stalls selling jerk chicken with rice and peas and fried plaintains, coconuts and barbequed corn.

Tips for the best time at carnival:

Notting Hill residents make a killing at carnival by selling cans of beer from an icebox and charging anything up to £5 to use their bathroom.  So to avoid mild exploitation from these million pound townhouse Delboys, chill your supermarket-bought cans and locate the nearest portaloos – if you can do it at Bestival, you can do it in the city!

Scour the net to find out about all the parties and afterparties, as some require signing up or a flyer invite.  Liquid Nation had a brilliant recession-busting party this year that had a flat rate of £2.50 for entry, drinks (including cocktails) and BBQ. 

Don’t try to plan too much, as you find something interesting on the way round or can’t get through the crowds in time.  If you’re meeting up with friends, avoid trying to find each other on the small streets around Talbot Road – go for the larger areas around Chepstow Road.

  

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